You would think with a name like “goal digger” I would be a giant fan of goal setting but the truth is, in the past, it hasn’t always worked for me. It’s that time of year again – the goal setting central time of year when everyone creates resolutions and announces them to the world in hopes that maybe it will actually stick.
Now I don’t know about you – but a lot of times I totally flop and fail on these goals and I usually start writing in a planner and by February 2nd, I don’t even know where that planner is and I haven’t written in it for two weeks. I’ve tried and tried to crack the code on how to approach New Year goal setting and I finally figured out a few hacks that helped me not just achieve my goals but crush them.
A Little Bit of Background
As I was preparing for this show I really started to dig into psychology behind what makes use achieve our goals or leave them in the dust! One of my biggest findings that somewhat shocked me is that motivation has VERY little to do with the success factor of a goal. Say what? I thought that being motivated meant I would crush my goals but it turns out INTENTION is more important than motivation. British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91% people who planned their intention by writing down when and where they would exercise each week ended up following through.
In fact, over 100 separate studies in a wide range of experimental situations have come to the same conclusion: people who explicitly state when and where their new behaviors are going to happen are much more likely to stick to their goals.
You can apply this strategy to almost any goal you can think of, and certainly to most health goals. For example, if you want to start a daily meditation habit this month, then you’ll be more likely to stick to your goal if you plan out when and where you’ll meditate each day.
So we talk about being intentional in relationships, online, with how we are presenting ourselves but how are we being intentional about our goals? It’s easy for us to say: I’m going to work out every day but if we never take time to specifiy when and where this will take place, life is going to find a way to suck away all of our hours and leave us exhausted lounging in yoga pants that never made it to yoga.
Could A Year Be TOO Long?!
So what’s been working for me? Not setting goals for the entire year but more for a quarter at a time… because a year is an awfully long time and it can feel restricting. When I joined my first mastermind this year, we wrote down goals for income, impact, and us as individuals – something for YOU not tied to work. Then we shared them with the person next to us, just speaking these goals into existence and not letting them sit on a page in the notebook helped them feel more real and helped us set with conviction.
After setting these three goals, we had to write down 3 action steps to make them happen and when we would complete them. So at the end of the day you had NINE steps to complete in the span of one quarter to get you towards your income, impact, and individual goal (I explain more in-depth examples of this on the episode!).
For me, quarterly goals feel better because I’m not stuck for a year or I don’t feel like a total failure if after one month I haven’t progressed because I love the notion of focusing on “batch” achievement in a sense of working hard at one thing for a period then making progress before moving on to the next.
But, Jenna, What If It Still Doesn’t Happen?
You didn’t hit the goals? Well, nothing. Because working towards them means I’m progressing more than if they never existed. I just “missed a goal” a few weeks ago and instead of being mad about it, I could see the beauty in our efforts and the fact that there were giant wins beyond just the goal itself.
Goals shouldn’t back us into a corner, they should give us the intention to be thoughtfully moving towards something. Yes, we can be motivated, yes, we can be inspired but the beauty lies in the intention and the action plan. As you start to set goals for the new year, create 3 steps you’re going to take to make each goal happen and include the “when” and “where.” If you want to increase your chances for success, share it with someone who understands what you are working towards and give them the chance to challenge your action plan because sometimes we complicate things or choose the wrong place to start.